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Christ Who Lives in Me
Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.”
Opening Prayer: Oh my Jesus, dying to myself is not an easy thing to consider. But I trust in you to take care of me in all circumstances. Help me to be open to dying to myself so that you might live in me.
- Fruitful Paradox: Jesus offers us a great truth here: a grain of wheat is only a tiny seed unless it falls to the ground, is buried in the soil, and sprouts forth new life. In this way, the one little grain becomes fruitful and is multiplied. By dying to itself, it becomes greater than itself. What a mysterious paradox: in order to have life, we must die. He gives us a second, related paradox as well, in that we must lose our lives in order to save them. The message here is that we are called to be detached from everything worldly–even our very lives–and be completely attached to Christ: “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:19-20).
- Detachment from the World: Detachment is a necessary component of discipleship. Jesus’s first disciples were called to radical detachment from the moment they met him. In Matthew 4, Jesus called the two sets of brothers on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and they immediately left their nets, boats, and family behind in order to do so (Matthew 4:18-22). When we examine our conscience, we can look to see what we need to detach from in order to become closer to Jesus. Could we offer a small but meaningful sacrifice? Or maybe we can identify a specific pattern of sin that holds us back from truly loving Jesus and others.
- Attachment to Christ: As Christian disciples, we are called to serve him and our neighbors with love. In order to represent him here on earth, to be “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), we are called to be fully attached to him. When we “remain in him,” like branches remain on a vine (John 15:4), we will have everything we need to bring him to our family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. He will also bring us complete contentment and joy: “If they listen and serve him, they spend their days in prosperity, their years in happiness” (Job 36:11).
Conversing with Christ: Dear Jesus, what would you like me to cast aside in order to draw nearer to you? What shall I surrender to you so that I can be your disciple and follow you more closely? Please show me how I can love and serve you and others with a pure heart.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will look for opportunities to die to myself so that I might more closely resemble you.
For Further Reflection: Read Matthew 4: 18-22 and reflect on how the first disciples left their livelihoods, families, and even their very identities as fishermen behind in order to follow Christ and be part of something much bigger than themselves.
Written by Carey Boyzuck.